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Knee mobility

Your knees play an important role in your overall mobility. Knee problems caused by injuries or chronic conditions can impact your ability to move and perform daily living activities. If you have a knee problem that causes pain or impacts your mobility, you know that it can be hard to do simple things. Walking, getting out of bed, sitting and standing, or doing household chores can be difficult or impossible. Several different conditions can impact knee mobility. The good news is there are surgical and nonsurgical treatments that can help reduce pain and improve mobility in your knees. 

Knee anatomy

Your knee joint is made up of three bones – your thighbone (femur), shinbone (tibia), and kneecap (patella). Your knee also has tendons, ligaments, and cartilage, including the collateral and the cruciate ligaments, and two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage called the meniscus. When one of these parts of the knee gets damaged from an injury or chronic condition, you may experience knee pain and mobility problems. 

Conditions that affect knee mobility

Conditions that can make it harder for you to move your knee include:

  • Knee bursitis
  • Knee arthritis
  • Knee tendonitis
  • Meniscus tears
  • ACL tears

Knee bursitis

Knee bursitis is a painful inflammation of the bursae around your knee. Bursae are jelly-like, fluid-filled sacs that help reduce joint friction that occurs with movement and provide a cushion for the pressure points between bones and the muscles, tendons and skin that surround the joint area. There are multiple bursa in the knee area, and all of them have the potential for becoming inflamed. However, there are two areas of the knee that are most susceptible to bursitis – the kneecap and the lower, inner side of the knee. Knee bursitis is most commonly caused by repetitive use and over-stressing the areas around your knee joints, but it can also be caused by direct trauma or infection.

Bursitis can often go away on its own with rest and physical therapy. If your knee pain or immobility from bursitis is severe or persistent, doctors may recommend surgery.  

Knee arthritis

Knee arthritis is the inflammation of the joints in your knee, which causes pain and stiffness, ultimately leading to mobility problems. Severe knee arthritis can make it difficult to walk, sit comfortably, or do other daily tasks. 

Knee arthritis is treated with arthritis medication, like anti-rheumatic drugs or physical therapy. Cases where pain or immobility from knee arthritis is severe, your doctor may recommend surgery. 

Knee tendonitis

Knee tendonitis is usually caused by repetitive motions in your knee that put excessive stress on a tendon, such as playing a sport or doing physical labor for work. Knee tendonitis can cause dull pain during physical activity, though patients experience different types of pain dependent on the severity of the condition and the intensity of their activity. 

Knee tendonitis is often treated with rest, physical therapy, and pain relieving medications to decrease pain and improve mobility. In severe cases of pain or immobility from knee tendonitis, your doctor may recommend surgery.  

Meniscus tears

Meniscus tears are another common knee injury. While anyone can tear their meniscus, this injury happens most commonly in athletes. A meniscus is made up of two wedge-shaped pieces of cartilage that connect the thigh bone and the shin bone to help stabilize the joint. Athletes often get meniscus tears when they twist, squat, or get tackled. Non-athletes can tear their meniscus by activities as simple as standing up from a chair. This is more common in elderly people. 

Meniscus tears are often treated with the RICE protocol (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) to help decrease pain and increase mobility. Other treatment options depend on the severity of the tear.

ACL tears

An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common knee injuries. It’s most likely to occur in athletes who participate in high impact sports, such as basketball, soccer, or football. Your knee is made up of three bones that are connected by ligaments. Your ACL runs diagonally through the middle of the knee, and it stabilizes your knee bones and keeps them in place. It can get torn if an athlete changes direction or stops suddenly, lands from a jump incorrectly, or has a collision or direct contact.

Depending on the severity of the tear, your doctor may recommend surgery. 

Beaumont can treat knee mobility problems

If you’re experiencing a knee mobility problem, Beaumont can help. We offer treatment for even the most complex knee conditions. Our orthopedic knee surgeons and specialists can help you determine the cause of your limited mobility or knee pain. Once a cause is determined, we offer several different treatment options, and we can help you develop a personal treatment plan. 

Beaumont has orthopedic programs at seven hospitals throughout Metro Detroit. No matter which type of knee condition you may have, we have a team of specialists ready to determine the best treatment option for you.

Call 800-633-7377 to make an appointment with a Beaumont knee specialist.